FAST, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope was completely installed in the Pingtand County from China. Scientists are ready to start the tests and the trial observations for the world’s largest telescope.
The reflector contains more than 4,450 panels and a surface of more than 30 football fields. It had been built into a natural karst depression, as a way to protect it from electromagnetic fields.
The Chinese researchers hope to use its incredible technical powers to explore the universe and extraterrestrial civilizations, which will hopefully bring China the scientific glory of new discoveries in space.
The project aims to find answers concerning the origins of our Universe and also to reveal extraterrestrial life. Zheng Xiaonian, the head of the National Astronomical Observation department, said that the device would remain a global leader for the next decades.
The telescope will be able to spot objects situated at more than 1,000 light years distance from the Earth.
“As the world’s largest single-aperture telescope located at an extremely radio-quiet site, its scientific impact on astronomy will be extraordinary, and it will certainly revolutionize other areas of the natural sciences,” said Nan Rendong, chief researcher of the FAST Project.
The construction began in 2011, and the total cost rose to 1.2 billion yuan, which is the equivalent of around $185 million.
More than 9,110 people will be relocated for the project, as the experts recommended it needs to be isolated from human communities. Household electronics can produce electromagnetic signals that can impair the functioning of the telescope. Therefore, every person living within 5 kilometers of FAST will be resettled. The government will be offered financial aid for relocation.
The gigantic telescope will collect radio emissions from space, and it will be able to detect even the faintest signals coming from the Universe.
The Chinese scientists said that they discovered more than 2,500 pulsars, a number that will double with the use of the new radio telescope. Moreover, pulsars are thought to contain the secrets of the Big Bang, and the powerful tool for space observations may help researchers to discover how the Universe was created.
Up until now, astrophysicists do not have any hard evidence for their theories, which rely mainly on theoretical calculations. Current telescopes don’t have access to far away objects, and space observatories are expensive, difficult to control, and unable to cover a large surface at once.
A gigantic telescope promises to give access to deep space objects, which will offer the researchers an opportunity to test their theories and to make observations way beyond the current technical limitations.
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